Exciting week for augmented ways of working in telco

Last week was kind of exciting (and a bit manic!). As well as working on a tech due-diligence (DD) and an important client OSS/BSS roadmap, I had the chance to witness some important steps in the progression on telco Augmented Reality (AR) use-cases.

On the software side, we already have many exciting use-cases lining up where AR and OSS cross-enrich each other:

  • Field worker assist – the use of AR to guide field technicians how to build the network and identify faults using information sourced from our OSS
  • Above-ground asset identification – the use of AR to identify and reconcile assets of interest such as antenna on a tower or equipment in racks, as well as latest status
  • Below-ground asset identification – the use of AR to highlight the position of underground (and otherwise out-of-sight) assets such as ducts, cables, etc across large regions such as cities using physical network inventory (PNI)
  • Asset data capture and auto-reconcile – the use of AR and AI to recognise assets in the field and collect / create structured as-built data sets to inject or reconcile with PNI. This technique can also be used to “ping” existing assets, an important advance for overcoming the issue of data quality on passive infrastructure
  • Overlay of real-time data – the use of AR to highlight current status, performance, condition information onto what we see in the real world
  • Presentation of invisible data – the use of AR to visualise what the human eye can’t see, such as Radio Frequency (RF) coverage estimates
  • 3D visual design – the cross-over of CAD (Computer Aided Design) and real-world models for design use-cases

One of these pieces of software has been around for well over 5 years. It was just a case of waiting for the hardware, the headsets, to catch up and support the software. Many physical constraints have caused these delays – level of positional accuracy (particularly tilt), suitable ruggedness to cope with the rigours of the field, ability to be read in bright sunny outside conditions, resolution of imagery. 

However, the exciting thing about last week is that same 5+ year company has found a headset that is finally up to delivering what their software can offer. I thought we were still a year or two away from achieving this, but field trials are proving successful for this company.

It seems we’re closer than I’d realised to effectively combine AR and OSS to deliver compelling new ways of working for the telco industry (and beyond). So exciting!

The wow factor is in the graphics, but the business case is in the graph (ie the data, as provided by the OSS).

If you’re an OSS / BSS vendor and have great ideas for visualising / enriching the wealth of data you collect / curate / present, please leave me a note. I’d be happy to introduce you to the companies that are already delivering the types of capabilities listed above.

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